When A $50 Chassis…Isn’t
Though low-cost cases are everywhere, a limited few are outfitted with the extra cooling capacity required by gamers boasting performance hardware. This is just as true for budget builders as it is for high-end systems, since the budget parts often are the ones that get overclocked to match the speed of pricier pieces. It came as no surprise, then, when only eight manufacturers responded to our broad search for the best-performing, low-cost cases. After all, this is a scary space to compete in if you're not proud of what you're selling.
We split this comparison into two parts, giving each model the added attention it deserves. Today, we look at the first four solutions.
While black paint is a good way to attract system builders with a penchant for gaming, each of today’s cases has more to offer in the areas of ventilation, ease-of-installation, and noise reduction. Here’s a few of the critical details:
|Header Cell - Column 0||AeroCool VS-9||Antec Three Hundred||Cooler Master Elite 430||Enermax Staray ECA3171|
|Space Above Motherboard||0.6"||1.4"||0.5"||0.3"|
|Weight||12.9 Pounds||15.4 Pounds||10.5 Pounds||12.0 Pounds|
|Front Fans (alternatives)||None (Up to 2 x 120 mm*)||None (2 x 120 mm)||1 x 120 mm (120, 140 mm)||1 x 120 mm (Stock Only)|
|Rear Fans (alternatives)||1 x 120 mm, (92, 80 mm)||1 x 120 mm (Stock Only)||None (120, 92, 80 mm)||None (120, 92, 80 mm)|
|Top Fans (alternatives)||None (2 x 120/140 mm)||1 x 140 mm (Stock Only)||None (2 x 120 mm)||None (None)|
|Side Fans (alternatives)||None (2 x 120/140 mm)||None (1 x 120 mm)||None (1 x 120 mm)||2 x 120 mm (2 x 140 mm)|
|3.5" External||Up to 1*||None||Two||One|
|3.5" Internal||Up to Five* (*Shared Trays)||Six||Five||Five|
Two of today’s cases now cost more than the $50 limit, yet we’ve included them because they were submitted in good faith while priced below our cut-off-point. We could focus on whether the two more expensive models are worth the extra money, but we instead decided to examine the design merits of each case individually before testing its performance.
I have the Antec 300 and love it - my current build is/was my first build, and the Antec case was very easy to build in.
My only (rather silly) question is how did you get the case fans to run on low? They appear to be plugged into your PSU, which is what i did, but that forces it to run on high.
AFAIK there are no graphic cards that are longer than 12.5", so it would fit HD 5970...
But as for the 300, I doubt it wont fit the 5970, but other cards would...
But if you will be spending ~$600 for a graphic card, then am sure you wont skimp on the case...
I would like a review on the NZXT Beta. Sub $50 market, you really aren't looking at any of those cases. You are looking at the Rosewills, NZXT, and cheap Thermaltakes.
Also don't ever buy Rosewill. EVER. Their products are terrible. I've bought a few items they've had on clearance (from newegg) and not a single product is worth the 90% discount. One case came bent and the power supply inside was missing some of the power plugs the manual said it had. One item came shipped with a driver all in Chinese. Customer service blamed it on whoever shipped it (right because Newegg is going to switch the power supply inside a case). Newegg switched the case out and the girl on the phone said they have a lot of problem with Rosewill products. The laptop pad was missing fan blades.